Sony Alpha NEX-5R camera – performance & design

Admin August 6, 2018
Updated 2018/08/06 at 12:49 PM
sony nexr

Over time, Sony has honed the NEX user experience, and I think the design changes of 5R’s help quite a bit; I’ve enjoyed shooting with the 5r more than any NEX model, so far away from the NEX-7. That said, it has some irritant aspects.

Sony Alpha NEX-5R has the same basic design as the NEX-5n (including the unfortunate lack of a built-in Flash), but incorporates some of the NEX-7 shortcut commands. The new control wheel and the function button on the top of the camera make it much more aerodynamic to use for those of us who are annoyed by the limits of the low-end NEX design–they can emerge some things through the Access commands so direct, but there is always a handful of settings that will force you into the menu system-and the extra function key reduces that pain. Brings together six user-selectable quick-access features, such as white balance, metering, focus options, and trigger effects. Unfortunately, there are not enough control options yet. I always ended up sacrificing some shortcut I need another I need more. For example, the only way to get an auto exposure lock button is to reprogram the Wi-Fi button, which cancels the purpose of easily uploading photos.


About 1.7 seconds to activate, focus, and shoot, the speed of the camera as average for this class. The time to expose, focus and shoot in intense light runs about 0.4 seconds, increasing to about 0.8 seconds in Twilight. With Phase-sensing AF allowed the delay shot to fall to 0.2 seconds in good light, but seems to rise to almost a second full of dim light. I suspect it is due to the overload of two working systems in conjunction. The camera automatically expands the focus area for the entire scene when it is obscued or obscued, but the phase sensing area is limited to about the middle third of the scene; I think there is a conflict they have to solve.

Sony Alpha NEX-5R takes about 0.6 seconds to capture two sequential JPEG files or raws. That also comes slightly with Phase-sensing AF activated, at about 0.7 seconds. There is no penalty to shoot raw here, although Raw + JPEG slows down the camera with messages not yet ready.


The continuous-Take performance is everywhere on the map, although usually with autofocus allowed to get about 3.5 frames per second for crude or JPEG. However, once a RAW explosion is complete, it will take a while to save the buffer to the card. In continuous speed priority mode, which fixes the display, the performance seems to range from approx. 8fps to 10fps and begins to slow down to about 18 strokes. Despite its apparent burst speed, however, it seems to me that the NEX-5r (and many cameras like it) frustrating to use this way because the camera/LCD cannot be upgraded fast enough so you can follow what is happening. Just point in one direction, hold down the shutter, and pray for something good.

While the touch screen works well enough to shoot and other typical camera operations, the on-screen keyboard is frustrating to use, insensitive, and prone to big-tip errors. Smart remote control is not so smart-you can’t change the settings, and you can only see a few-but that’s pretty typical. However, it acquires a low-resolution local version on the device, as well as saving the shot to the camera.

For full account of Sony NEX-5r’s features and performance, download the manual in PDF.



Despite an apparent plethora of warnings, I finally like the 5r; Top-of-line photo quality and rationalized design of respectable shot go a long way to compose for irritants. And if you’re a fanboy/girl from Sony with a PlayStation, a Xperia smartphone, or another device connected to Sony, then the wireless implementation makes sense.

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